Author: Rosanna Robins (Read Aritcle on Hallam FM by clicking here or read below)
It comes as we’re being warned the rising cost of formula is pushing some parents to try and steal it
A South Yorkshire baby charity has told us it’s thinking about providing formula milk due to a growing number of parents struggling to afford it.
It comes after we told you this morning about warnings of a health emergency – with charities reporting that some parents are being driven to steal it because of the soaring cost.
Baby Basics was founded in Sheffield and now has 55 branches around the UK.
It previously hasn’t given out formula, partly due to issues around needing to work with health professionals who want to encourage breastfeeding.
‘We hear stories of mums watering down formula and reusing nappies’
But CEO Cat Ross says families are becoming desperate:
“The need is growing. We’ve seen in our supermarkets it’s moving behind the checkout because formula milk is becoming one of the most shoplifted items.
“But also we hear stories of mums watering down formula in the same way we hear stories of mums reusing nappies because they can’t afford to buy another pack of nappies.
“At the end of the day a mum wants to be able to feed her child, and parents will go to whatever lengths they have to be able to do that.
“We don’t right now provide formula milk, but we’re also determined that actually we need to overcome those challenges to be able to support families with this need.
“We’re continuing to see a massive increase in demand. That’s everything from clothing, toiletries, nappies, toys and beds.
“And we’re also seeing a drop in donations. Everybody is struggling with the cost of living, so somebody who previously may have decided to donate their cot to us can’t afford to do that anymore because they need to sell it to pay their electric bill.”
Cat is also reminding families who are struggling to check if they are eligible for the Healthy Start vouchers, which is an NHS scheme aimed at helping people who are pregnant or who have young children.
“There may be people thinking they can’t apply for the Healthy Start voucher either because of their immigration status right now or because they’ve got immigration status but it says on their judgement ‘no access to public funds’,” says Cat.
“If you have at least one child under four years old that is a British citizen that was born in the UK, you can still access Healthy Start vouchers. And it’s worth going online and getting that application in because you can use those vouchers to help buy milk.”